The tablet marketshare has substantially increased over the past few years and with good reason. The market which was more or less dominated by the Apple iPad, saw the emergence of the budget tablets like Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 which marked a new revival (or arrival) of Android tablets on a bigger scale. Today, the tables have turned and Android tablets currently rule the budget tablet segment which led Apple to launch its own budget tablet, or something which comes close to it in the form of the iPad Mini. And it is now being reported that the tablet market will see further surge in 2013. Reports coming from analysts cited by Digitimes suggests that the tablet shipments could reach 180 million units in 2013. As you would expect, the iPad will continue to take most of the cake of the tablet industry or in the 9-inch+ tablet segment. While the budget tablet segment which consists of tablets under 8-inches will be dominated by Google’s offerings as well as Amazons.
Even with top quality Android tablets like the Nexus 10 in the market, there’s very little going for it. The reason being that Android tablet apps are still not as polished as iPad applications. The iOS platform comes with a large number of iPad specific apps which are built to work on these devices, so users aren’t treated to magnified mobile apps. Of course, the first gen iPad had this issue back when it was launched where we saw plenty of apps weren’t meant to work on the device. So it’s basically a slow transition, and as the days progress we are seeing more and more Android developers improving the quality of their apps, so app content is one area where Android can improve. I think Google will like to maintain a specific benchmark now with the 7 and 10.1-inch tablets respectively. The iPad has been 9.7-inches right from the start and even today it maintains the same size, although the change in display resolutions were cause for concern. Even with the iPad Mini, despite being a relatively smaller device, all of the iPad apps work seamlessly on it as it uses the same resolution as the first and second gen iPad. So these are the challenges that Android tablets are facing as of now, but if there’s a fixed display resolution that all developers can work on, I guess most of the issues will be resolved.
Then there are tablets like the Microsoft Surface RT and the yet to be launched Surface Pro which are yet to prove their mettle in the market. Although we think the Surface Pro would do well in the market, it won’t cause any harm to the iPad marketshare and certainly not the Android budget tablet marketshare. But people will certainly buy all sorts of tablets this year and we’re fairly certain that the Surface tablets will account for many of those. 180 million shipments is a lot, but not unexpected looking at the pace at which manufacturers are going.